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How to learn how to "teach" English A-Z?

 
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Dream_Seller



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 38
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:20 am    Post subject: How to learn how to "teach" English A-Z? Reply with quote

I plan on getting a CELTA but is that enough?

Should I get a Masters before?

Experience will teach me?

I don't want to be a clown for kids. I want to have a day job while building my reputation so I can have a decent side hustle (tutoring, teaching groups, etc).

I am more entrepreneurial oriented than academic minded, I'll leave those plush jobs for someone else. But I can't tutor if I only know how to read a lesson plan and only offer the fact I am a native born English speaker (BA+CELTA). To make money you have to offer value. You can scam someone once or twice but eventually it won't last.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 758

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
only offer the fact I am a native born English speaker (BA+CELTA)


That is an awfully good start. You should mention which country, as that matters a lot. Some countries are more desirable than others for these guys doing the hiring. You should mention what your degree is in, though that is not of huge importance, really, it is probably more important in terms of how it will prepare you for life and the work, but most of these guys are not going to care that much what it is in, unless it is extremely relevant to teaching English. Otherwise, they probably will not care and instead size you up based on your presentation (to the extent they can judge that, the westerners can, the VN often cannot).

I think the scamming going on is in the other direction. We are not really scamming them. Either we can do the work well, or we cannot, but sometimes they do not even care about that if we look like a western teacher. Some of these scenarios are not serious at all.

I think you could study endlessly there, but it is not going to do that much for you here. Doing this work well does not so much come from the western lessons you get. It is great to be educated, no doubt about that, and also nice to be very skilled with the English language. Still, I think doing this work well is more based on things like caring, careful analysis of what happens in the classes, learning about the outlooks of the native learners, willingness to constantly search for better ways to do your job, realizing that the textbooks are too complex for the natives and the students lack the necessary background information to do well with a lot of the material they are given, creatively coming up with material that will work for them. That sort of thing. I just think that the west is so different from Asia that the lessons for the west are best applied to the west, and success in a classroom here comes from different lessons.
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Dream_Seller



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 38
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BA Business (major Entrepreneurship)
CELTA-- I plan on getting that in Vietnam

So pretty much I will need experience to be an effective teacher and to tutor on side.

Thanks I appreciate your time.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 758

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Business is good, in my opinion it can help you a lot with understanding how to deal with life generally. If you also have a lot of related work experience, there are teaching jobs that pay more than average for business trainers. Not saying your expectation should be to land one of those immediately, just saying that your qualifications should be quite acceptable. I do not think a Masters or even a PhD gives you a lot of extra improvement in ability for doing this particular work. In some cases, it could get you noticed for a job. In other cases, it could cause employers to not want to hire you, thinking you would never be satisfied with what they have to offer. Anyway, (in my opinion only) pursuing a Masters for the purpose of understanding how teach English in Vietnam is not a very good use of time and money, though it may certainly be of great value in many other ways, especially if you do go back, as most do.

Lessons from the west are about the west, the VN system is very different. In fact, one of the great problems of teaching here is all the material has all this background information that relates to the west, and so they are not just learning the vocabulary, they are fighting through these constant references to places they will never go, names they will never hear, ideas they will never use, dialects they will never come in contact with, what have you. It is overwhelming and makes it very difficult for them.

You failed to mention your country of origin. That is quite important. I forget the exact layout of the list, it is distasteful and insulting to folks, as it probably should be. But Asian employers have preferences, so a native speaker from the Philippines with a PhD is probably less employable than a native speaker from the U.S. with a bachelors. They may be factoring in the standards of education there too, or they may just be blatantly discriminating. The worst is how they will discount a VN who was born and raised in the U.S., who also can speak VN. So here is a guy who speaks both languages, grew up with the most favored dialect, yet is discounted because he does not look like an English teacher. Appearance matters A LOT here.

Well, Tet vacation is almost over. Hope everyone had a lot of fun. Back to work we go!
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Business is a great secondary degree to hold in ESL. Many companies want their teachers to have a background in business to teach the business English classes. It may open up more opportunities for you.
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PC Parrot



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 374
Location: Moral Police Station

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pursuing a masters would be something to consider if you intended on staying in the field. But it's probably better to give the classroom a go first.

Regarding a comment above, a masters in TESOL is not necessarily a western based approach to teaching. Much of the literature on pedagogy stresses the importance of factoring in local-learning styles. Anyway, it is not only Westerners who take these degrees and who contribute to the field with research papers and articles. It is an international effort. I would imagine Vietnam has it's own TESOL organisation that runs conferences and workshops throughout the year. Cambodia does.

What would a masters give you? Well, it would help you to:

    Better understand your students needs - as speakers, listeners, readers & writers
    Better understand your students weaknesses & strengths
    Better understand the range of theories about Second Language Acquisition

    Better understand the principles behind good course & materials design
    Better understand the principles behind good examining & testing

    Better understand the English language - from a linguistic perspective: think systemic functional grammar, think text and discourse analysis, think lexical chunking, and think lexico-grammar

    Better understand the English language - from a socio-linguistic perspective: think illocutionary force, think speech acts, and think politeness systems


And if you like the humanities, and I guess that's why you are running away from your cubicle, you might just like what you find.

Having said that, it would be a much more appealing career if, when you were ready to return to the west, it afforded you a home & retirement in the west. All too many people find that, after a life-time of TEFLing, they simply cannot afford to return to their home country.

Where I work, in the Gulf, many people wish they had found a different way of living overseas in their youth that hadn't later necessitated their toiling for a decade in the Gulf to put their finances in order.

Of course, some people make money through businesses they start up or through other ventures, but be warned, many of the people I work with today have gone down such roads.
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Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah man, you better go on and get a Master's in TESOL before coming over.
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Dream_Seller



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 38
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PC Parrot wrote:


What would a masters give you? Well, it would help you to:

    Better understand your students needs - as speakers, listeners, readers & writers
    Better understand your students weaknesses & strengths
    Better understand the range of theories about Second Language Acquisition

    Better understand the principles behind good course & materials design
    Better understand the principles behind good examining & testing

    Better understand the English language - from a linguistic perspective: think systemic functional grammar, think text and discourse analysis, think lexical chunking, and think lexico-grammar

    Better understand the English language - from a socio-linguistic perspective: think illocutionary force, think speech acts, and think politeness systems




Thats exactly the type of confidence in teaching English I want to convey to potential employers. That I know what I'm doing and can start right now.

I am American, a native speaker or hispanic desent. I have been told many times that I look white or Viet American. I know that image and perception trumps value in Asia. Its also bizarre that someone who is VK American and can explain more to viet students in a language they understand is sometimes less valued. I am not viet.

A Masters still might improve my teaching confidence and make me more marketable. (ie..teaching business english, private classes).

I already own my own house and plan to rent it. I live in a low cost area of the country but the travel bug has bit me. I have traveled a lot. I don't have any desire to retire in the U.S. While you can splurge in Asia, you can also squander everything in America.

So those teachers dedicating decades of their lives in the Gulf may have equally have squandered their incomes in the U.S if even to a greater degree.

Making more money only has helped ease my misery here. I appreciate your advice PC Parrot. I think you know what your talking about. Thanks.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 366

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I'd get a masters after teaching for a while, rather than before. In fact, a lot of masters require at least 2 years teaching experience beforehand, and I imagine these are the ones that have most practical relevance to the classroom. Either way, I suspect you're going to better understand a lot of the concepts if you've spend some time in the classroom before doing it. For a start, you might do a masters, and then realise you hate teaching within a few months.
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. Do something cheap with actual teaching hours built in. Linguistics is fun to study but teaching is a different animal.
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Dream_Seller



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 38
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the comments. I appreciate it. I think I will just invest in a CELTA first. I'm sure the first year in Vietnam I will be bombarded with plenty. I will have to learn alot quickly. How to drive in that madness on a motorbike is one thing for sure. Thanks again for all the helpful responses.
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